Month: October 2012

Rape at Cannon Air Force Base

Jewel, United States Air Force

In 1975 I joined the USAF. I was 19 years old and very shy and innocent. I believed that most people were good. And still think for the most part people are. My first duty station was Cannon AFB, NM. I worked in a Warehouse where 3 female airmen and about 75 male . I lived off base with my boyfriend he was in the Air Force too.

A friend of his was always harassing with sexual words. One night when my boyfriend was gone this man came looking for my boyfriend he came to the door and asked for him. I didn’t even answer the door, I told him he wasn’t in. He asked to come in I said no. He pushed the door down and pushed me into a spare bedroom by the front door. I remember thinking this wasn’t really happening. He held a gun to my head and said if I screamed he would shoot me. He ripped off my nightgown and raped me. When he got up I just laid in fear. I knew he was probably going to shoot me. But he left out of the room. I thought he was leaving; then suddenly he was back in the room. He had a knife from my kitchen and stabbed me 8 times. I had begged for my life. He left and I could tell that it didn’t look good.

I crawled on my hands and knees to the next door neighbors house. They called the police. Then I remember being taken to hospital. I had to have a blood transfusion. Back then there was no crisis rape counselor just mental health who I saw a man one time and decided I had to get through this alone. They sent me another base to get away from the incident. T

he man went to Leavenworth for 4 years, yes 4 years. I suppressed the whole incident for years. I had a eating disorder for years a form of control of something with my body. I went through 3 marriages , several thoughts of suicide and 1 attempt.. I am 57 years old and I still have nightmares, I am on total disability. I managed some how to stay in the Air Force for 20 years. I don’t think anyone has an idea unless it has happen to you. I pray one day that maybe I could have a normal life. I haven’t given up yet.

Military Women are strong, we learn to adapt to many things in a man’s military. We just didn’t know we’d have to endure rape to be strong.

Airman afraid to report rape.

Jennifer, United States Air Force

I did the same thing Mikayla Bragg did in an effort to appear fine when in reality I was falling apart inside.  I didn’t want my Chain of Command to know how and why I felt the way I did because I was judged, threatened, expected to “suck it up”, and my treatment and medications were used against me.  I, too, was scheduled to go to Iraq in 2008 and had weaned off my medications so that I could do so.  The VA was not willing to sign off on allowing me to deploy because they were afraid that I would have no support if something was to happen to me (they knew that I was trying to be strong but was ready to fall apart).  I tried to fight them but in the end could not continue to hide the information from the military because of Q21 on my security clearance.  Had I been supported from the get go (1999) and allowed to get the help I needed without worrying about how it would affect my career, I could have got healthy a lot sooner.  But, I was not supported at all.  I felt I had to hide the information from my Chain of Command because it was used against me.  I was judged as being “crazy”, “on happy pills”, “a national security risk,” and “weak”.  This type of treatment only compounded the PTSD.  I had no confidentiality if I did get help because everyone in the Chain of Command was informed. This also ties into why PTSD for MST survivors is so traumatic.  The assaults themselves are very traumatic, personal, and shameful.  We wouldn’t see nearly as many PTSD claims as we do if it wasn’t for the continued abuse, judgement, and mistreatment by those in our Chain of Command.  Instead, I would have still been serving my country while getting the help I needed to be the best soldier I could be.

‘Fell through the cracks’: Could Longview soldier’s death have been avoided?

Coast Guard Investigative Service blames victim for her rape.

Anonymous, United States Coast Guard

As an E3 in Alameda (5 years ago), I was assaulted at a party. I was drinking, and the person who assaulted me managed to have me leave the party with him- several friends saw me leave and did nothing to stop me- and I ended up in his apartment. I remember vaguely being on this guy’s floor with my pants off. I graduated from a well known college before joining, so its not like I had never had a drink with the opposite sex before. I’ve fallen asleep on fraternity house couches and was never treated with anything but respect, because I am a sister not a piece of meat. The next day I reported it to my supervisor (completely unaware of the restricted and unrestricted reporting guidelines) and he launched a CGIS investigation. During the investigation I was told that it was my fault because I was drinking, and that I welcomed it because I had previously told someone that I thought the guy was cute. This incident cost me my relationship, friendships, and eventually my credibility. I’m still in, but I can’t shake the anger and disgust at this organization for the way rape survivors are treated. CGIS is a joke, the reporting requirements are a joke. The only person who helped me was the Victim Advocate. What’s amazing is I had no follow up medical care, no counseling, nothing. I only hope I can save other females from experiencing this as well.

Coast Guard recruit sexually abused at basic training; wants changes.

“These recruits are entrusted to my care. I will train them to the best of my ability. I will develop them into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained Coast Guard men and women. I will demand of them, and demonstrate by my own example, the highest standards of personal conduct, morality, and professional skill.” – Coast Guard Company Commander Creed

I never truly understood the meaning of the word hopeless until I went to Cape May. Some may judge me based on the fact that I didn’t come forward with my story sooner. That’s fine. I don’t expect those who haven’t been there to understand. When you are in a world where you have it drilled into your head that everyone is out to get you, it’s not quite so simple. When you see the chaplain and the person you fear harm from chatting and being friendly, there’s hopelessness. When you are told that dialing 9-1-1 rings you into the base fire department, where he no doubt has friends, there’s hopelessness. When your aggressor teaches your sexual harassment class and tells you, “if you ever gives you trouble, come to me”, there’s hopelessness. I had a duty to speak. And for a time I remained silent.

When I was in Coast Guard Boot Camp, myself and another shipmate (who like me was a 5’3″ blonde) were subjected to 8 weeks of sexual harassment and verbal abuse at the hands of our Company Commander Carlos Resendez. Petty Officer Resendez would require us to clean his office at night after everyone else had gone to bed and would proceeded to make sexual comments and be inappropriate (i.e. walking up behind me, just shy of having his body touching mine). It was horrific and I was terrified of what he was going to do the entire time, but because of our fear we remained silent. We just wanted to move on our new units and forget what we had left behind. I consider that decision to be the biggest mistake of my life.

In 2010, I had honorably gotten out of the Coast Guard and was trying to move on with my civilian life. That’s when I received the call from my shipmate that had gone through boot camp with and it stopped my heart… “You’re not going to believe this – I met a little blonde girl at my new unit today… Can you guess what happened?” Of course I knew and I immediately felt my heart drop. As it turns out, she had met the female at her unit and asked the typical, “What company were you in? Who were your Company Commanders?” questions common of all junior enlisted Coasties. The conversation quickly brought forth details that were all too familiar. We were not the only ones.

After talking at length, we decided it was time to take a stand. I would make a call to CGIS and report what had happened. I did so, while the other female reported to their local office. It was a lengthy process and it took a great deal of time to finally meet with investigators in person. As the investigation revealed, we were not the only victims. PO Resendez , emboldened and feeling that he would not get caught in his actions after his experience with us had continued to terrorize his recruits In one of his recruit companies after ours, he chose yet another 5’3 blonde, but this time he did not stop with verbal harassment. Given a direct order to comply, my shipmate was sexually assaulted several times during her boot camp experience. She, like us, feared what would happen if she spoke out. This victim, in addition to the female that my boot camp shipmate had met made a total of four known victims.

Last month, September 26th, Resendez pled guilty to Cruelty & Maltreatment and Adultery. He was sentenced to a maximum allowable 12 months confinement, Bad Conduct Discharge, and reduction in rank to an E1. While we were elated that the judge had came down on him with the maximum punishment, it was bitterly disappointing to see that he was not charged with the most heinous crime that he had committed – rape. Due to a flaw in the UCMJ, he could not be tried for rape, because of the fact she was not “forced”. In the UCMJ a direct order (even in a boot camp setting where there is no out whatsoever) is not considered as rape… We must fix the broken way in which our military members are treated in cases that involve sexual assault.

When you are a member of the military, you completely give your voice over to the government and are totally at their mercy to take care of you and ensure that justice is received. In this case, because of a glitch in the system, the perpetrator got off with a much lesser charge than he deserved. I am now attempting to carry this torch and have started a petition to Congress regarding this matter (http://www.change.org/petitions/congress-of-the-united-states-of-america-revision-of-article-120-in-the-uniform-code-of-military-justice ).

 

U.S Marine raped

H, United States Marine Corps

While serving in the USMC, I was raped by a Corpsman attached to our unit. I was on liberty one night with my mod-mate, and had seen the Corpsman at the bar. I had a few beers (I honestly, was NOT drunk…I knew very well what happened every moment that night!) We went back to our barracks rooms that night, and I got an unwanted visitor at my door.

I cannot count how many times I said “NO” or “STOP” or “PLEASE” that night. No one heard me. I reported it the next evening to my Chain of Command and the investigation was launched from there. The investigation went from June to January.

During these months, I was heavily alienated by my peers and my NCO’s. I was made fun of. I was referred to as derrogatory names by EVERYONE. I was severely depressed. My Sergeant Major even told me to my face that it was MY FAULT because I did not have a father in my life growing up, and that I need to learn how to PRESENT myself in front of men, because “I must have” given him a reason to think that I wanted it.

He was wrong. MY Marine Corps did not stand by me. Then shunned me, when I needed them the most. I selflessly gave myself to my country, and my country did not stand by me in return. My heart was broken. When all was said and done, the official investigation done by NCIS was “unfounded” because there was not a rape kit done (as I did not know I needed to go to the hospital to do so), and I did not have a roommate so there were no witnesses. Only his story and my story. Period. If it weren’t for my UVA (uniformed victim’s advocate) & civilian led support group that I faithfully attended weekly for over a year..I would still consider myself a victim. I am not. I AM A SURVIVOR!